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November 16th, 2022

Episode 163 – The Three Ways Successful Dental Practices Integrate Core Values

“Can you see how exciting this is for HR? You now have tangible behaviors that the team can say here is an example of how I was delivering our core values.” ~Regan Robertson

Are you struggling with team retention? Or not seeing your team exhibit the behaviors you want in your practice? 

If so there’s a good chance you aren’t leveraging your core values. The fact is, you have core values. Even if you haven’t formally defined them, or they’re just collecting dust somewhere, if you aren’t clear about what your values are, your team doesn’t know what you expect from them. 

The most successful dental offices know that core values are the foundation of an exceptional culture and patient experience.

We love to make your lives easier! Join us today as we share the three ways successful dental offices leverage the power of their core values, including:

  • Strategies to communicate core values to your team
  • Putting tangible behaviors behind each value 
  • Employee buy in vs employee ownership of core values

Never miss an episode! Subscribe on iTunes & Spotify. Visit us at http://www.everydaypracticespodcast.com

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Regan

Welcome to Everyday Practices Podcast, I am your host, Regan Robertson, and today I’m here to interview my co-host, Dr. Chad Johnson. Chad, how are you doing today?

Dr. Chad Johnson
Hello, everyone. It’s great being a guest on this episode of the podcast that I host with you. I’m doing great.

Regan
Core values. That’s right.

Dr. Chad Johnson
We know we need them. We know you have them whether you define them or not.

Regan
They do exist just like a culture. Right?

Dr. Chad Johnson
So why don’t they work? And what can we do to fix them? Well, we have a plurality of people and that also makes it difficult to make sure that everyone’s on the same page. Because when you have more than one person, and you have more than one agenda, because everyone kind of when they go to work, they’ve got their own agenda. So it helps reset what the team’s agenda is. I don’t know, that’s my off-the-cuff answer. What are your thoughts?

Regan
I think I agree with that and as the team comes in, and then the team departs, you have what is known as intellectual property and I think of core values as intellectual property, meaning it’s not a hand drill. It’s abstract. It’s a thought. It’s an idea it is your core values. So as team members depart and new team members come in, is that something that is communicated? Is that something that sits in a handbook? And you see it once? I think there’s a lot of consistency that can get lost and so you may have done the workshop for the core values at some event somewhere or had a consultant come in or read a book and do it at one point but did you carry it through in a consistent manner where you know, it shows up

Dr. Chad Johnson
today? Yeah, and so we’re, we’re, we’ve been implementing for the last year, our core values that started with our leadership team, discussing what those were, and consolidating and figuring out what’s interesting about ours Regan is that ours spells a core.

That’s it. So there’s five of them that we have. It’s attentive, compassionate, optimistic, reliable, and efficient and those core values, my PDA coach, Joanne has been working with me on implementing those into also making it a bigger deal where we, as a team, make a code of ethics of taking those values, and then applying different behaviors that exemplify what that looks like. So and then we are going to showcase those and my marketing guy, Dean has also been making a graphic that is actually very Disney-esque.

You know, in that week, I found one on images.google.com of Disney’s core values, and that they had graphics graphically laid out, and when I went down to Disney and did their behind-the-scenes tour, then we, we were shown how they kind of color coordinate their core values and they exemplify that through the behind the scenes, you know, scenery, I don’t know what you call it, like when you’re walking up the stairs, if Blue was safety, for example, the blue on the stair on the vertical part, it’s got blue keys that say this is a key our core value, you know, one of the keys to Disney, and it would have different safety things as you’re going up the stairs and stuff like that. So they really try and you know, embed that into the tapestry of the behind-the-scenes culture that we don’t see out on the street in Disney.

Regan
Do you plan on using color psychology in your practice to anchor your core values?

Dr. Chad Johnson
Yes and well and we’re getting there and then that also is going to go on on a screensaver on so patients can see it and that I think was going to help hold us more accountable to

Regan
that is Fanta So I caught attentive, compassionate, yes, efficient. So what are the other ones? It’s a core,

Dr. Chad Johnson
optimistic and reliable and I swear, we did not choose those to make the word core but it was cool afterward, I was like, Do you realize that we almost spelled core is like a core value? A core five core values that we chose? So

Regan
when did you put these into play? You said, was it earlier this year?

Dr. Chad Johnson
Yes. I want to say about a year ago, so let’s say, you know, full year, but yes, you know, so 1213 months from ago, something like that.

Regan
How do you measure these core values in each team member right now?

Dr. Chad Johnson
Okay, that was interesting, because Joanne said, How do you know that these core values are happening? And I didn’t really have a good answer. And, you know, it’s kind of tough, because, in my mind, my only good answer was qualitatively, but she recommended, and we started doing this when we’re hiring new people, which there has been a lot of turnover with COVID stuff, you know, is saying, here are our core values, you know, and what we stand for, do you think you could align with these, you know, and stuff like that. So we’re actually using it in the interview process. Give me an example of how you are compassionate, give us an example of, when someone’s optimistic how you, you know, the value that or it doesn’t have to be you or whatever. So we’re trying to use those core values to figure out if are you in alignment with us? Before we begin?

Regan
Is this something that you carry forth in your performance reviews?

Dr. Chad Johnson
Well, yes, but I don’t, I don’t really do those my office manager, Sally does. So I wouldn’t be the first-hand person to explain those but that would be a really good thing to follow up on is, you know, like, how are we implementing that? We discussed this at each of our quarterly meetings, too. We haven’t quite discussed them on our monthly meetings but we even you know, Joanne, had us do this, because we had a, a fun day down in Kansas City, we went to Great Wolf Lodge, as a team, and we put up on, you know, big Markerboard stuff, you know, the five core values and All right, so give us examples of how someone’s attentive, give us an example of how someone isn’t attentive and then we went through and chose, you know, which ones were our favorite ones and those are becoming, what is our code of ethics. So it’s, I’m sure, it’s just semantics for some people, but the core values are, you know, the keywords and then and then the Code of Ethics more is strict, getting into the weeds of, of giving examples of specific behaviors that people employ, to show that they’re attentive. You know, I like

Regan
where you’re going with this, one of the questions I was going to ask is, is how do you define compassion? Like, what? How does that show up in the practice, so tell me your code of ethics, because that’s, I think, giving me clues as to the behaviors that you want your team members to embody, that will create that core value experience.

Dr. Chad Johnson
So under compassionate we had the top three were being a good listener, understanding a person’s fear or situation, and being mindful of what’s best for the patient. So those were three of our best compassionate examples. We had other ones being patient. We wrote even, you know, discussing financing, touching people to make them feel like they are welcome and heard explaining each object and each step to the patient, greeting people by name and introducing yourself if necessary, explaining our out-of-network status, diplomacy, and de-escalating situations, those were examples of, you know, that we thought of as compassion. So can you see

Regan
how exciting this is for Sally, as you know, she is the owner, if you will, of the performance reviews for the team? She has, the right tangible behaviors that the team could actually take to Sally and say, Here is an example of when I was actively listening to a patient, I was practicing compassion, yes. In this instance, or if I’m tasked with de-escalating a situation, maybe that went great, or maybe it didn’t, but it could be a very easy way to manage a team member to it. We want to be compassionate, underneath compassion is this characteristic of this behavior. I think that’s absolutely brilliant. Has Sally given you any feedback so far, on how her interpretation of how the code of ethics and core values has been showing up in the practice? Has she noticed any change yet?

Dr. Chad Johnson
Sally? No, we don’t really sit down and say, well, the day is done. Let’s go through the core values and we haven’t Don’t quite done that, right but in our free time, it’s interesting, we’ll be like, Wow, Dean was really optimistic today, and that was manifested when he did this and that and it’s kind of a cool way that we can, you know, boost each other up and stuff like that, do we do it every day? No, but you know, every couple of weeks, you’ll see someone make a comment on that.

Regan
I think it’s that old adage, you get what you focus on and it can snowball positively, you know, in the right direction, or negatively, depending on what you’re looking at PDA, we just went through this entire exercise. Also, we are, we used to have an acronym for our values, and it spelled out tribe, I had the hardest time getting everybody to memorize what each word was, and then it was even more difficult to figure out how to put behaviors to it. So one of its spelled out tribe, and it was a trust relationship.

I think it was integrity, or we integrated solutions. Even though I have a problem chief communications officer here, I still kind of like had issues, you know, with each individual word we were choosing, but how did you define that, and it’s sort of like laid flat there. So it reminded me of like the motivational teamwork posters that you see in like episodes of the office, it was very flat, and it was very one-dimensional. So when PDA we went through and redid the exercise, we have one core value, just one and it’s professionalism and darn it, if I tell you 100% of this company knows exactly what the core value of it is and there are three supporting behaviors that sit underneath it and I’m sharing this with you Chad because I am validating we’re seeing the exact same thing. We don’t talk about it every day but these behaviors are showing up and our managers can manage these behaviors and so the first one under professional ism is being knowledgeable, we have to be very knowledgeable about the subject that we specifically are engaged in, to genuinely caring, we have to genuinely care about our clients and the patients that they care for and the third is responsive. Those three behaviors keep showing up over and over again and I think it is a wonderful way to bring our core values to life and so it’s very interesting to me. So you did it in a little bit different way but very similar. You identified what the values were, and then you put a code of ethics with it.

Dr. Chad Johnson
Well, and I’ll admit, I never would have gotten to that if it weren’t for Joanne, you know, saying All right, now we need to take it a step further and I was like, I mean, I’m not against it, you know, because so far even talking, the Code of Ethics has been beneficial. So if we dig deeper into it, I can’t imagine it hurting. So this has helped our culture.

Regan
So for the listeners, Joanne, who is Joanne to you?

Dr. Chad Johnson
Oh, yeah, well, a couple of minutes ago, I mentioned it. So she’s my, coach through productive dentist Academy. So And what’s cool is, I mean, this just happens to be the case, but I live here in Des Moines, she’s in Kansas City, it’s really just a two-and-a-half hour-ish drive to get here, so and she’s always a phone call or email away. So it’s not that I mean, but it is nice to be able to be in contact with her. So we run, you know, a zoom call occasionally. It’s right now, for example, once a month, you know that we do a business review, you know, talking about how things are going and this has been a majority of our discussion in the last two or three months.

Regan
So I’m going to tell you how I quantify the value of core values and I want to, I want to hear if you do the same, there are two-fold two ways that I look at it. So one, I look at it for Team hiring, attraction, and retention. Yes, like attracts like and then the second way that I look at the value of core values is a marketing message outward. So just like we’re attracting team members that we want to retain, that can vibrate on that same energy of the core values that we embody. I also am looking forward to resonating with that message kind of out in the market and hoping that that reflects back so that we know we are living our core values. So for example chat if I were to pop up your Google reviews, I would want to hear Yeah, which by the way listeners branded dentistry google it, he always has great reviews. When when I do. When I look at that, I’m going to want to look for examples of how you defined compassion. You know, the team really took time to listen to me, and yeah, Sally greeted me by name, she makes me feel like I’m you know like she really knows me very well the minute that I walk in the door, those types of comments I would be looking for. So that’s how I quantify the value of core values. How do you quantify the value of core values?

Dr. Chad Johnson
What’s interesting is that that’s an integrity thing that the outcome would showcase the input. So the input is these core values and I don’t know if I’m using the right terms, but you know, like, that’s the front end of it is defining it? And yes, we’ve actually put it into our job. What do you call it? Like help wanted ads? I don’t know, you know, but yeah, or help wanted ad and stuff where we’ve said, here are our core values and I actually I have an associate that is coming to work for me Starting this spring and when we were emailing back and forth, just casually, I said, Hey, I just thought I’d share with you, you are our core values, here’s what we stand for and here’s, you know, what we’re about and, and she wrote back and was just like, you know, what, I think that is the right place.

For me, it was really cool, because it resonated well with her and I think just because we were able to define it, because who’s against compassion, right? I mean, no one’s against compassion but to be able to identify that we like, we hold compassion as one of our values and to be able to say that and to, you know, to say, we’ve been purposeful and intentional about thinking what is important to us. I mean, not everyone says that optimism is important to them. Or, you know, reliability or efficiency. I mean, you know, those who don’t want something to be efficient, sure but to be able to define that as a core value and I have to admit Reagan, I don’t know if I answered your question but like, yes, it’s, it’s starting to permeate, and then you do want to see, but I had a really cool, aha moment when you said that it should show up in your Google reviews and I thought, I need to have Dean review our Google reviews, and our Facebook reviews, you know, any review? And are those words starting to permeate and let the team know, Hey, guys, what we’re doing is showing up, like, that’s really cool. I hadn’t really thought of it that far. I actually think that the more you dig into it, you’ll end up and I will end up finding ways to mine this more, that there’s something deeper than just a foot down and just something deeper than just 10 feet down.

Regan
The level deeper that you’ve taken it is I don’t personally. I think some people may believe that they’re not compassionate and they may have different reasons for it but right on the surface, of course, I’m a compassionate person. Sure I am but it does get a bit semantical and in how you define compassion, that’s the layer that I think you have done the extra work and you’ve gone deeper and you’ve said here’s what it means for us to be compassionate in this environment.

Dr. Chad Johnson
My tip to the listener that’s wanting to employ this into their team is you don’t have to come up with the list the gold is having your team come up with this list so that way, they have ownership in it and I actually it goes back to the Disney thing with Penny. Penny shoot. I wish I could give her a shout-out name-dropping now penne penne Penne. Penne read from a penny read. Yes and so I met up with her and we went through the Disney stuff because she loves Disney, you know. So we did that and, I asked this big or shot guy and he was showing us around he was he didn’t act like a big shot but everyone knew who he was. I just knew that he was a big shot in Disney because people would go oh, hey, you know, Jim, or Rick or whatever his name was, I hate that. I don’t remember his name but that like, people knew who he was. He didn’t act like a big shot but I asked him I said, so. What you’re telling me is that then the employees have buy-in, and he said no. Ownership and I just thought it was a cool distinction. He was just like buy-in is kind of when it’s like, alright, we’ll play along ownership is when it’s like, no, we’re invested.

Regan
I think that this has been a super productive Everyday Practices Podcast tip for the week. I think this was fantastic. If I heard you correctly, Chad, which I believe I did, really well listeners of your core values if you know you have them, but they’re collecting dust somewhere, or maybe you don’t have them at all but you are struggling with some team retention, you’re not getting the behaviors you want out of your team, there’s really three things that you can do. Right right away. First, you gotta bring in your team and get buy-in. So you’ve got to have a session to identify what those core values are and they need to be a part of that process, too. You need to communicate with them everywhere and manage them.

So I love Chad how you said, you know, we’re putting it on as the wallpaper on our PC computers. There. We’re going to actually even do some color theory around it so we can reinforce and anchor it visually communicate it, manage it everywhere and then three, make sure that you’re supporting those core values with behaviors that you want to see define it your team needs guidance, and they are not going to all think of compassion in the same way. Just like maybe somebody wouldn’t think of a professional in the same way professional in WW UAE is not the same as a professional in a healthcare setting. So defining that with behaviors you want to see as powerful. Thank you, Chad. Yeah,

Dr. Chad Johnson
thanks for having me on. I hope that was advantageous to everyone.

Regan
Kudos to you, Chad. Because I remember when you had the world’s longest mission statement I’ve ever read, I couldn’t remember a thing of it, and simultaneously, PDA had core values that were so long and I was like, I can’t even remember them. We’ve done the work and I’m glad that Joanne brought you through this exercise and you’ve taken it and run with it and then you just like put it on fire using color theory Hello. Like that.

Dr. Chad Johnson
I’d actually get done with it. I’d like to maybe have Dean send it to you to see what you think like

Regan
yesterday, like you know, I’m going to leave this class this Saturday. Right, very cool. So I will happily look it over for color. All right, everyone will have a wonderful day. We wish you well. Till we see you next time.

Dr. Chad Johnson
Thanks, everybody.

Regan
Hello, Regan Robertson here from Productive Dentist Academy. Do you ever have that nagging feeling that you deserve more, more case acceptance, more time with your family, and more profit without sacrificing excellent patient care? I have great news for you. You can join your favorite PDA podcast hosts Dr. Chad Johnson, Dr. Bruce B. Baird, Dr. Victoria Peterson, and myself at a PDA productivity workshop in 2023. This is a full emergency where we give you the resources and tools you desire. So you can align your team streamline your systems and consistently produce more without raising your fees and without more time in the chair. This is the nation’s number one dental business course and the best part is this program guarantees your dental practice growth. We have two events in 2023 March 2 to the fourth and September 28. To the 30th fair warning, these events fail quickly. March is already half full as I record this, so grab your registration today. If you have to have it right now you can email it directly to Brent at brent@productivedentist.com to save your seat and hurry these events fill fast.

Thank you for listening to another episode of the Everyday Practices Podcast. Chad and I are here every week. Thanks to our community of listeners just like you and we’d love your help. It would mean the world if you can help spread the word by sharing this episode with a fellow dentist and leave us a review on iTunes or Spotify. Do you have an extraordinary story you’d like to share? Or feedback on how we can make this podcast even more awesome. Drop us an email at podcast@productivedentist.com And don’t forget to check out our other podcasts from productive dentist Academy at productivedentists.com/podcasts See you next week.

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